If I’ve been with a company for 16 years and now my hours are being changed to ones that I can’t work, can I be fired?

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If I’ve been with a company for 16 years and now my hours are being changed to ones that I can’t work, can I be fired?

For 14 years, I’ve been working 6:30-2:30 pm. Now they want me to work 8-4 pm. I have a part-time job that starts at 3:30 pm, and I also care for my twin 15 month old nephews. Can they change my hours legally?

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your company has an absolute right to change your hours at will (unless you have a written employment contract specifying your hours; if so, they have to honor the terms of your contract): employers, not employees, control employee hours, unfortunately. If you cannot or will not work the hours your employer wants you to work, you can be terminated; worse, you could potentially be fired "for cause," for not following employee directions or instructions, and therefore be denied unemployment compensation.


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